Delhi Model: AAP took over this existing 15-year-old polyclinic and claimed it

A signboard proclaiming it to be a AAP Polyclinic was removed only after protests by residents; this is one example of how AAP went on an overdrive in claiming credit for even what they didn't do !

Delhi Model: AAP took over this existing 15-year-old polyclinic and claimed it

Mohd Asim Khan

Delhi residents who have watched the political progress of Arvind Kejriwal are not surprised at the chief minister’s utterances in the poll-bound states. Every chief minister possibly makes exaggerated claims but even by India’s political standards, Kejriwal, people agree, not only takes the cake but also the cake shop.

While he has been waxing eloquent about the ‘Delhi Model’ in Goa, Uttarakhand and Punjab, people in Delhi have been having a good laugh at his tall talks. In 2012, points out national spokesperson of the Congress Gurdeep Sappal, Delhi was hailed as the world’s greenest capital city. ‘How is it that now Delhi has the dubious distinction of being the world’s most polluted capital? What kind of a Delhi model is that?” he asks.

Mohalla Clinics is another success story that the Delhi Chief Minister cites as proof of his stellar leadership and vision. Residents and critics, however, have been calling his bluff. What you see in Delhi Government’s advertisements, they exasperatedly exclaim, is only part of the story and not the whole truth. Most of the clinics have either folded up or are not functioning, they point out. Some have not had doctors for over six months. Many are in a dilapidated state and the Delhi Government in its hurry to ramp up numbers even opened clinics in unhygienic conditions next to drains.

Recently Delhi government put up a hoarding outside a Delhi Government dispensary in Ballimaran in Old Delhi that read “Aam Aadmi Party Polyclinic”. This raised many eyebrows in the area because the polyclinic was not set up by the AAP government.

The dispensary or polyclinic was set up and running for more than 15 years. It was set up by Sheila Dikshit government around 2007.

“It was a dilapidated building where a Unani dispensary was run by the Tibbia College. Being the then MLA of that constituency, I took the initiative and got the building renovated by Delhi Government and set up a polyclinic there with Allopathic, Ayurvedic, Unani and homeopathic treatment facilities” recalls senior Congress leader and former minister Haroon Yusuf.

“The then chief minister Sheila Dikshit ji inaugurated the dispensary in the presence of then health minister Dr. Ashok Walia and myself. Now I hear that the local MLA even got that plaque removed from there. This is illegal and we have lodged a police complaint,” he said. The Ballimaran assembly constituency is represented by AAP’s Imran Hussain, who is also a minister in Arvind Kejriwal cabinet.

Delhi Model: AAP took over this existing 15-year-old polyclinic and claimed it

The Kejriwal government has not set up any Mohalla clinic in the walled city area in the last seven years, say residents. Nor has any new hospital come up in Delhi.

“This is shocking how the local MLA and minister could lay claim on an already existing clinic. Perhaps a signboard would have been justified if the Kejriwal government had built a much-needed new diagnostic lab or X-Ray/ultrasound facility inside this polyclinic or improved its infrastructure in any other way. But nothing of that sort has been done,” said an agitated local businessman who doesn’t wished to be named.

However, after the controversy, the controversial hoarding has been removed. “These so-called Mohalla clinics are just a publicity stunt. They have set up a few good clinics to showcase for visiting foreign dignitaries and donors etc. But there are reports and photographs of many mohalla clinics that are in bad shape or not functioning,” said Haroon Yusuf.

The local MLA, Imran Hussain, did not respond to phone calls by NH. We would update the story as and when he responds.

(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday.)

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